Portland Expo Center: A Hidden History


In 1942, the United States government imprisoned 3,676 Japanese Americans from Oregon and southwest Washington at the Pacific International Livestock Exposition Center, now known as the Portland Expo Center. This video, produced by Jodi Darby for Oregon Humanities, explores the hidden history of the Expo Center through the words of people who were there. This film was sponsored in large part by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Humanities in the Public Square program and the Common Good initiative.

To learn more about this history, read Eric Gold's story “Within Makeshift Walls” in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Oregon Humanities.


History, Laws and legislation, Place, Power, Race, Public Policy, Video, Home


4 comments have been posted.

Nice photos - but sound is bad - can't make out more than 1 man's voice - too bad the background music can't be turned down.

Cathy Poetschat | March 2017 |

Very informative--thanks for bringing this part of Oregon's history to notice.

Margaret Collins | March 2017 | Portland, OR

I am amazed at the equanimity with which these survivors tell their stories. It wasn't detention; it was incarceration! Why is this shameful time not discussed in our history lessons?? In retrospect it appears to be the US rendition of Hitler. What fear does! And are we now in danger of repeating this sin against our fellow humans?

Tita Montero | February 2017 | Seaside, OR

very interesting - thank you - what a great way to help people understand our history, in all its awfulness. please re-think keeping that background drone of music going all the way through about 1:40. it's too much, makes it hard to concentrate on what the first two men are saying.

Tiffany Lee Brown | February 2017 | Sisters, Ore.

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